Read Part I here.
As we prepare to celebrate The Fatima Centennial at St. Joseph the Worker thru November 26, 2017, it helps for us to have a little background, and so for the next few months we will be getting to know our Lady of Fatima with some historical background and stories compiled by Fr. Joseph Previtali, a priest from the Archdiocese of San Francisco, and Adjunct Instructor of Dogmatics, St. Patrick's Seminary, Menlo Park.
Part II: We have the tendency to view human history as if God has no part in our affairs. This comes from the custom in our schools of discussing human affairs from a purely secular point of view for fear of offending people of different faiths. However, effects of Our Lady on our history are so clear that to ignore them is to distort reality until it appears irrational. The motherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary is real and historical and it is the means through which Jesus Christ wishes to save us. He has made us His brothers and sisters, children of His Mother. The saints tell us that Christ wishes to triumph over the darkness of sin and evil especially through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Our Lady of Fatima is part of this history. The story of Our Lady of Fatima begins in the spring of 1916 with three shepherd children. Lucia dos Santos, nine years old, was with her cousins, Francisco Marto, age eight, and Jacinta Marto, age six. Lucia tells us what happened in her own words:
"We went on that occasion to my parents' property, which is at the bottom of the Cabeco, facing east. It is called Chousa Velha. "About the middle of the morning it began to drizzle and we climbed up the hill, followed by our sheep, in search of a rock that would shelter us. And so it was that we entered for the first time into that blessed place. It is in the middle of an olive grove that belongs to my godfather, Anastacio. From there one can see the village where I was born, my father's house, and also Casa Velha and Eira da Pedra. The olive grove, which really belongs to several people, extends as far as these places.
"We spent the day there, in spite of the fact that the rain had stopped and the sun was shining in a clear sky. We ate our lunch and began to say the Rosary. After that we began to play a game with pebbles. We had only been at it a few moments when a strong wind began to shake the trees and we looked up to see what was happening, since it was such a calm day. And then we began to see, in the distance, above the trees that stretched to the east, a light whiter than snow in the form of a young man, quite transparent, and as brilliant as crystal in the rays of the sun. As he came near we were able to see his features. We were astonished and absorbed and we said nothing to one another. And then he said: 'Do not be afraid. I am the angel of peace. Pray with me.'
"He knelt, bending his forehead to the ground. With a supernatural impulse we did the same, repeating the words we heard him say: ‘My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love You. I ask pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love You.' "After repeating this prayer three times the angel rose and said to us: 'Pray in this way. The hearts of Jesus and Mary are ready to listen to you.'
"And he disappeared. He left us in an atmosphere of the supernatural that was so intense we were for a long time unaware of our own existence. The presence of God was so powerful and intimate that even among ourselves we could not speak. On the next day, too, this same atmosphere held us bound, and it lessened and disappeared only gradually. None of us thought of talking about this apparition or any pledge of secrecy. We were locked in silence without having willed it."
Next Week: More of the fascinating story and history of Our Lady of Fatima.
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